With over 11 million tourists from abroad each year, Istanbul is one of the most visited cities in the world. Its special geographical location between two continents and two seas lend the Turkish metropolis a very special flair. My tips for Konstantine’s former opal reveal a very modern, contemporary side of the city, as well as a connection to the traditional Arabic side, which still has a meaningful influence on Istanbul today.
Hotel: SOHO HOUSE ISTANBUL
The newest member of the Soho House was equally impressive in many ways. The hotel is located in a magnificent, historic building. Every floor is beautifully designed, from the dining room to the Embassy Club to the Mandolin Terrace. But the cherry on top is the rooftop bar with views over the Bosporus: sunset is a definite must.
Favorite Location: RÜSTEM PASHA MOSQUE
Next to the popular mosques, where you usually have wait a while in line and even then can only enter in large groups, there are some very beautiful smaller houses of prayer. My personal favorite is the Rüstem Pascha Mosque. Because its almost hidden entrance is nestled between the streets of the spice bazaar, it is rarely visited by tourists and a true oasis from the bustle of street life.
A visit to a hamam in Istanbul is a must. Turkish baths are an important part of Islamic bathing and body culture and can be found on almost every corner of the city. Cağaloğlu is an especially beautiful hamam, classically decorated in marble nad flooded with light through the dome overhead. The perfect place to indulge and unwind.
Dinner: KARAKÖY LOKANTASI
The special décor of this popular restaurant in the trendy Karaköy neighborhood makes it a real eye-catcher. The walls are tiled in turquoise blue and a black iron spiral staircase in the center of the restaurant leads to the upper floor. The menu is traditional cuisine, with offerings including delicious meze, fish and meat dishes, as is customary in Turkish taverns.
Kaan Müjdeci, a Turkish independent filmmaker and co-owner of Luzia bar in Berlin also opened a bar named Luzia in Istanbul this year. A life-sized lion sculpture in marble at the entrance offers an opulent contrast to the minimal furnishings from Danish architect Sigurd Larsen. While you can enjoy a small snack or a delicious flat white during the day, the evening is all about drinks at the bar on the upper floor.
See more impressions by Gloria on “Come fly with me“.
Translation: ALICIA REUTER
Gloria Brachmann lives in Berlin and travels the world as a flight attendant. Before she turned her profession into her passion and started the blog "Come fly with me", she worked as a Contributor for L'Officiel Homme and as freelance Styling-Assistant.